The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued to the University of South Dakota Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of South Dakota. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Graduates from the Program are eligible for the national certification examination administered by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

NCCPA Physician Assistant National Certification Examination First-Time Pass Rate

Class Of Class Size First Time Takers First Time Takers Passed Percentage Passed-First Time Takers
2008 19 19 19 100%
2009 20 20 17 85%
2010 21 21 21 100%
2011 20 20 17 85%
2012 19 19 18 95%
2013 19 19 16 84%
2014 22 22 21 95%
 2015 25 25 23 92%

NCCPA Pass Rate Summary Report

Program Goals

The University of South Dakota Physician Assistant Program’s goals are to:

1.  Provide a rigorous academic and clinical curriculum and achieve first-time PANCE percentage pass rates and mean Program scores above the national average.

  • University of South Dakota Five year NCCPA First-time PANCE pass rate = 90% 
  •  National Five year NCCPA First-time PANCE pass rate = 93%

2. Provide the means and support for every entering student to graduate. 

  • Five year graduation rate of 98% 
    • 1 students extended to next graduating class

3. Prepare graduates to meet primary care workforce needs. 

  • 52% of graduates practice in a primary care setting, i.e., family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health.

4. Prepare graduates to improve access to medical care in South Dakota. 

  • 44% of University of South Dakota PA graduates practice in South Dakota.
    • Of those, 49% practice in rural/frontier communities, i.e. population ≤50,000. 

We demonstrate achievement of our goals by compiling data from the NCCPA, continuous program evaluation and graduating students.